The Alien Autopsy Film
Michael Hesemann, author of Beyond Roswell, investigates the controversial alien autopsy footage.
Some international researchers conclude that the Santilli 'Roswell' footage is not a hoax. They claim that the alien in the autopsy room was retrieved not from the Roswell UFO crash site but from another, earlier crash near Socorro.
About a year and a half ago, on 5th May 1995, the London-based film producer Ray Santilli for the first time presented his alleged alien autopsy footage to an audience of invited media representatives and UFO researchers at the London Museum. Even before that date, a very emotional debate had already started. Angry ufologists had challenged Santilli to shut up or work together with them, while others had claimed from the very beginning that the film is a hoax just because it doesn't fit into their concept of what happened in New Mexico in the summer of 1947.
Santilli's marketing policy, his commercial exploitation of the film, his ignorance in the UFO field and his violation of all the unwritten protocols of the UFO community didn't find many friends among ufologists, and quite soon many screamed "Hoax!" without being able to prove anything. One researcher even concluded, "There is no [16 mm] film and no cameraman", after quoting page after page of all the rumours, second- and third-hand information and inconsistencies among Santilli's claims (or alleged claims), to prove that he was right from the very beginning when he suspected a scam, because the being on the autopsy table looked "too humanoid to be an extraterrestrial", yet ignoring that this is exactly how most eyewitnesses describe crashed ufonauts.1
Unfortunately, those who searched for the truth, wherever it might be, were few in number. Willing to listen to Santilli first, before they judged and checked out the information they could get before asking for more, were mainly Philip Mantle (UK), Bob Shell (USA) and Michael Hesemann (Germany) - the International Research Team (IRT) - joined by Maurizio Baiata and Roberto Pinotti (Italy), Johannes Baron of Buttlar (Germany), Odd-Gunnar Roed (Norway), Hanspeter Wachter (Switzerland), Col. Colman VonKeviczky, Dr Bruce Maccabee, Joe Stefula, Lt. Col. W. C. Stevens, Ted Loman, Robert Morning Sky, Llewellyan Wykel and Dennis Murphy (USA), and others.
Let me point out that we found Ray Santilli always very friendly, helpful and cooperative although sometimes limited in his actions by agreements with his business partners and the cameraman. I wonder if any 'major international media corporation' would ever have been even nearly as open to any reasonable research approach as Mr Santilli indeed was. The following is a summary of results from the IRT's first year of investigation.
Yes, there is a cameraman. We located people, besides Santilli, who had spoken to him over the phone: Gary Shoefield of Polygram, Philip Mantle, John Purdie of Channel Four (UK) and the secretary of David Roehring of Fox Network, USA. He is American, an old man, and lives in Florida. He was in hospital when Gary Shoefield wanted to meet him, and was coughing when Philip Mantle had him on the phone. According to his story he had polio as a child.2 Polio victims at that time mostly walked with a limp. He could not have had a bad hand, otherwise he could not have worked as a cameraman, but maybe he had a bad leg. The movement of the cameraman in the film indicates this, since he doesn't move smoothly. Bob Shell enquired among senior US military cameramen if they could remember a colleague from the 1940s with a bad leg. They knew one. His name is Jack "X", and he is exactly the age claimed for the Santilli cameraman: eighty-six.3
The cameraman is not Jack Barnett - a name used originally by Santilli to protect the identity of the true cameraman. Jack Barnett worked for Universal News, filmed Elvis Presley at a high-school concert in 1955 and died in 1969. Jack X did not work for Universal, but filmed Elvis at another concert, an open-air one, when the Universal cameramen were on strike.4 The cameraman agreed to be interviewed by a major US TV network.5
In April 1996 Bob Shell was contacted by the US Air Force following an enquiry from President Clinton's scientific adviser, Dr John Gibbons. The USAF Captain told Shell that they had located footage from the same stock in their archives and verified that at least part of the Santilli material is genuine, and shows no dummy and no human. They knew the cameraman's name - Jack X - but asked Shell to forward an address, since the military records building in St Louis had had a fire and many records had been lost. A search would be time-consuming and expensive.6
When we asked for details about the crash site, we became convinced that the cameraman indeed has an excellent knowledge of the area in question. With Ray Santilli as the intermediary - and Santilli did not know anything about the area in question and insisted on calling Socorro "Sorocco" - he even described a ruined bridge that we could locate only on our third visit to the area. He knew exactly what he was talking about.
Although some have criticised the cameraman's technique in the autopsy film, other military cameraman think this is exactly the way they, too, would have filmed it.
"The cameraman keeps moving to get out of the way of the surgeon and keeps trying to get the best perspective. The job of an army cameraman is to record a procedure on film, not to deliver beautiful pictures. And that, here, is an adequate filmic protocol," said Dr Roderick Ryan, US Navy cameraman during the '40s and '50s who filmed many secret government projects including the atomic tests on Bikini Atoll.7
"Among these circumstances, no one could have made a better job...he was not only a well-educated and experienced movie man, but, additionally, in full knowledge of editing and production of documentaries. Evidence: filming the autopsy activities from various view angles," said Col. Colman VonKeviczky, who studied at the UFA Film Academy in Berlin Babelsberg, was head of the audiovisual division of the Royal Hungarian General Staff, cameraman and director of the 3rd US Army at Heidelberg and member of the audiovisual department of the United Nations in New York.8
The film stock
Careful study of stills made from the original film and high-quality Betacam copies confirmed that the film was indeed shot on 16-mm material. The camera handling seen on the autopsy film indicates the use of a small, lightweight camera with fixed lenses (therefore, the out-of-focus close-ups), like the 16-mm Bell & Howell Filmo Camera used by US military cameramen in the '40s - the camera the cameraman claims he used.9
Leaders of 16 mm film were sent to Kodak Hollywood, London and Copenhagen and turned out to bear the symbols (a square and a triangle) used by Kodak either in 1947 or in 1967.10
Two segments with three frames each, one clearly showing the autopsy room, were given to Bob Shell, editor of Shutterbug magazine and also a phototechnical consultant for the FBI and the US courts. After a careful physical analysis, Shell confirmed the segments to be pre-1956 16-mm film. In 1956 Kodak changed its film-base from acetate-propionate to triacetate, and the samples were clearly on acetate-propionate film. The film type was Super XX-Panchromatic Safety Film, a high-speed film used for indoor filming but which had a life-span of no more than two years, when cosmic radiation would cause a 'fogging' of the material. Shell is sure the film was exposed and developed within two years. This, at least, dates the film as pre-1958.11
The equipment & objects in the autopsy room
Everything in the film dates to the time in question. The telephone is an AT&T model from 1946,12 and spiral cables had been optional since 1938 and standard for US Army telephones.13 The wall clock is a model on the market since 1938,14 and the microphone is a 1946 Sheer Bros mike.15 The table with the instruments was standard equipment for a pathologist, as confirmed by Prof. Cyril Wecht, ex-President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.16 The bone hammer was not unusual; nor was the Bunsen burner which, in autopsies, served the purpose of burning away body fat.
The corpse on the autopsy table has been the subject of many disputes as to whether it is a dummy, a girl with a genetic disorder or, indeed, an alien. Nearly all special effects (FX) experts concluded that it is certainly possible to fake footage of a realistic-looking autopsy. There have been many concerns about 'snuff' movies and the origin of the corpses used in them. South America had been named as a possible origin, but reports from there have indicated the use of very realistic dummies. However, no one has found any evidence of special effects being used in this autopsy film - although today, unquestionably, nearly everything can be faked with the latest state-of-the-art FX techniques.17
On the other hand, pathologists and physicians from all over the world who saw the film were pretty sure the body was not a dummy, but actually a corpse - human or humanoid.
It is indisputable that some of the characteristics of different genetic disorders can be found in the being on the autopsy table - mostly disorders such as Turner's syndrome or progeria, combined with polydactylism (which is not a typical element of Turner's syndrome, although possible in combination with it) and other anomalies. This prompted a German dermatologist, Dr T. Jansen of the Policlinic of the University of Munich, to publish a study in a medical journal, trying to prove that the body is that of a girl who died from a rare form of progeria.18 On the other hand, he forgot to explain why there could be two girls with identical symptoms including polydactylism, when progeria is so rare that there are only 20 cases worldwide. Unfortunately, the only case of Turner's syndrome twins, although obviously documented on film, was never published in the medical literature.
Indeed, Dr Jansen's 'findings' do not explain the extreme precautions taken when the autopsy was performed, i.e., why would the team have worn bio-hazard protection suits if the body had a genetic disorder, and why would the being have been fitted with black eye-lenses? Although Dr Jansen diagnosed a stroke (common for progeria patients) as the cause of death, this does not explain the damaged right leg, the broken and swollen left leg, the cut-off right hand and a bruise at the left temple with a possible bullet wound. Should we assume that our creature broke its legs, cut its right hand and shot a bullet in its head before it died from a stroke?
More than that, Jansen's explanation for the missing navel couldn't convince us, either. To quote Dr Jansen, "It's like if you put up an umbrella: the unevenness disappears."19
On the other hand, quite a number of pathologists concluded that the being was not human at all, since its inner organs were like nothing they had ever seen:
Prof. Christopher Milroy, Home Office Pathologist, University of Sheffield, UK: "Although a close-up of the brain was shown, it was again out of focus. However, the appearance was not that of a human brain."20
Prof. Mihatsch, University of Basle, Switzerland: "As for the organs removed, they could not be tallied with any human organs."21
Prof. Cyril Wecht, Ex-President, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, USA: "I can't place these structures in an abdominal context... I find it difficult to bring in any connection with the human body as I know it. The structure that must be the brain, if it were a human being, does not look like a brain...it does not seem to be a human being."22
Dr Carsten Nygren, Oslo, Norway: "This is not a human brain. It is...much too dark."23
Prof. Pierluigi Baima Bollone, University of Turin, Italy: "When we look at the inner organs of the body we find no single organ that in any way resembles any human organ. The main organ, which could be the liver, has neither the shape nor the location of a human liver. The face of the alleged extraterrestrial shows surprising anatomical features: very big ocular orbits, a very flat nasal pyramid, a mouth somehow wide open...nevertheless, the face is flat, there is no evidence of facial musculature which is present in human beings and is responsible for the large variety of facial expressions of the human species... My overall impression is that we are dealing with a creature that seems to belong to our species but is so clearly different from us that it seems absurd to speculate about the similarity."24
There was not a single physician or pathologist who, after watching the full film, concluded it was a hoax or that the being on the table was a dummy. They all agreed the corpse was of a living, biological entity - human or not.
According to the cameraman the autopsy was performed by "Dr Bronk" and "Dr Williams".
Prof. Dr Detlev Bronk (1897-1975) was no surprise, since his name already appeared in the controversial "Majestic 12" documents. He was Chairman of the National Research Council, America's leading biophysicist and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Army, Air Force and of the Atomic Energy Commission - certainly a person to whom the supervision of an autopsy of this relevance could have been entrusted. After his death, all his papers and documents were preserved at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, of which he was President from 1953.25
Dr Bronk was a very methodical person, kept detailed diaries and all his correspondence, notes and dates. But when Bob Shell wanted to look through his papers and diaries for 1947, he learnt that, mysteriously enough, this is the only year for which all the records are missing. None of the friendly librarians could tell him what had happened to them or why they are still missing.26
Dr Williams might have been Dr Robert Parvin Williams (1891-1967), who was Special Assistant to the Surgeon General of the Army at Fort Monroe, Virginia. He was a Lt. Col. in 1947 and was promoted to Brig. General in 1949.27 Alone, the naming of Dr Williams - who was the right man in the right place for the task - indicates the cameraman had some inside knowledge.
Were the protagonists of the alien autopsy footage indeed pathologists or surgeons - or just actors? We asked the physicians who viewed the footage: Prof. Dr Ch. Milroy, University of Sheffield, UK: "Whilst the examination had features of a medically conducted examination, aspects suggest it was not conducted by an experienced pathologist, but rather by a surgeon."28
Prof. Dr M. J. Mihatsch, University of Basle, Switzerland: "I do not question the capability of the pathologist or surgeon who is working on the corpse."29
Prof. Cyril Wecht, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, USA: "(They) are either pathologists or surgeons who have performed a number of autopsies before."30
Prof. Pierluigi Baima Bollone, University of Turin, Italy: "Definitely surgeons, not pathologists...well-experienced."31
Prof. Jean Pierre, University of Paris, France: "The persons who performed the autopsy were certainly of the medical profession, if not experienced pathologists."32
Dr Carsten Nygren, Oslo, Norway: "These were surgeons doing the work, not pathologists."33
In fact, neither Prof. Bronk nor Dr Williams were pathologists: Bronk was a biophysicist and Williams a surgeon. Indeed, not one physician concluded they were actors or made any mistakes.
One point of criticism was the type of autopsy performed. Obviously it served the purpose of determining the cause of death rather than of learning more about an alien life-form. On the other hand, this is explainable by the circumstances under which the autopsy was performed.
According to the cameraman, four living aliens were found at the crash site. One did not survive the recovery operation, the second and third died about four weeks later, and the fourth survived until May 1949.
We do not know anything about the autopsy of the first creature, and it might very well have been that it was subjected to a 'big' scientific autopsy.
The cameraman filmed the second and third autopsies on 1st and 3rd July 1947, when the main concern might have been to find out the cause of their sudden deaths in order to find a way to keep alien no. 4 alive - unless they could establish communication and find out why these visitors had come to Earth. This was surely of a higher interest for the national defence forces than a scientific study of an alien life-form. Nevertheless, we assume that organs were taken for further study during the dissection.
Furthermore, according to the cameraman, the fourth alien was autopsied scientifically in a medical theatre in Washington, DC, in the presence of leading scientists from the US, England and France.34
The debris footage
The Santilli footage showing metal samples was analysed by Dennis W. Murphy, who has an Academy of Science degree in marine diving technology and welding and has studied all types of metalwork.
He concluded: "I have never seen anything that resembles the manufacturing techniques used in the construction of the I-beams in the Santilli debris footage. I know of no manufacturing process that could produce the multitude of details found on the I-beams."
Murphy refused possibilities like milling ("When I look at the lettering I see precise rounds as part of the symbols. I do not think that you can do this with current milling machines..."), extrusion, rolling, casting, moulding ("against moulding...the apparent lack of weight for all the pieces..., the acute right-angles at the roots, the thinness of the flanges of the I-beam and the finely detailed definition of the raised symbols...", which could only be produced with metal of a high density which is much heavier than the indicated weight), and the use of foam-core paperboard ("the crystalline nature of the break in the broken beams, the reflectivity of the material in the break, the rigidity of the I-beams..." argue against this possibility, according to Murphy).
The nature of fractures, the flexible, light and highly reflective appearance of the I-beams baffled Murphy and brought him to the conclusion that, indeed, metal with an extremely fine, crystalline structure had been used, manufactured with an unknown technique.35 The same conclusion was drawn by Prof. Dr Malanga of the University of Pisa, Italy.36
Master Sergeant Bob Allen, USAF security coordinator at a top-secret research facility near Tonapah, Nevada, recognised the panels on the film: "The army came, after many years, to the conclusion that the beings had taken the boxes out with them because they were waiting to be picked up. Each panel was constructed for each of the ETs individually. They could be fitted into slots in various apparatus. The entire system - propulsion, navigation, everything - could be started and controlled by these panels. We tried it too, but our brain frequency was not fast enough to operate them." According to Allen, they were presented, together with other "alien hardware", every 10 years to the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories for examination as the basis of latest state-of-the-art science.37
This was confirmed by a USAF engineer, working for Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque, who identified them as some kind of "biofeedback computers responding to neural impulses".38 "We learned how to feed information into them, but we were not able to get information out of them," he added.
Bill Uhouse, a mechanical design engineer who worked at the top-secret facility at Area 51 on the Nevada test site - where he allegedly worked with alien technology - identified them as "personal control panels. They served to communicate with the individual member of the crew and possibly to interact with a computer on board or, better, the steering unit. When the craft crashed, each crew member took his panel with him. Possibly they served as communication with a mother ship, which could locate and rescue them."39
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